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Counties Energy celebrates graduating scholarship student

Sophia Chen at awards

Local Pokeno resident and ex-Pukekohe High School student Sophia Chen has graduated from a national scholarship programme. Ms Chen was awarded a First Foundation scholarship through local lines company Counties Energy who has supported her through the programme. First Foundation recently held a graduation and awards ceremony to celebrate all graduating students, with their families and programme partners also attending the event.

The three-year programme supports local youth who have the aptitude but not necessarily the means to gain a tertiary qualification. The scholarship Counties Energy provided as a programme partner included financial assistance towards Sophia’s university fees, mentoring and part-time work during the programme.

Ms Chen is currently studying a biomedical engineering and science degree (majoring in psychology and computer science) at the University of Auckland and worked at Counties Energy during her holiday periods.

Counties Energy General Manager Safety, Culture and Sustainability Tracey Kay says supporting Sophia was an honour and was also a wonderful learning experience for both the company and Sophia.

“We’re proud to have provided this scholarship to Sophia, which provided financial support and guidance along with a nurturing and empowering environment where she gained knowledge and life experience. Sophia has been an absolute pleasure to have as part of the team for three years. We’ve watched her grow from a school student leaving Pukekohe High School to a mature, confident, extremely diligent and dedicated young woman who has brought so much knowledge and joy to our team, the office and our events. We wish her the very best on her future pathway and know she will be successful in anything she puts her mind to.”

Ms Chen says the experience was extremely fulfilling. “It has been a steep learning curve for me since the start of university, and I’m really grateful for the support from Counties Energy along the way. I’m especially grateful for everyone on the team who made this experience enriching and welcomed me with open arms. I will cherish and benefit from the gained life lessons for years to come.”

Counties Energy named the award the Bob Arvidson Memorial Scholarship in honour of one of the first trustees of the Counties Power Consumer Trust, now renamed the Counties Energy Trust. Counties Energy is partnering with another First Foundation scholarship recipient, ex-Pukekohe High School student Isabella Coughlin, who has commenced the programme.

For more information on First Foundation go to

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